Staff Directory

Jabbar Bennett

Jabbar R. Bennett

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D. (he/him) is MSU’s vice president and chief diversity officer. Bennett works to advance MSU’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic priorities along with staff in the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and partnership among senior executives, deans, faculty, staff, students and alumni. Bennett is also a professor of medicine in the College of Human Medicine.

Prior to joining MSU in December 2020, Bennett served as the inaugural associate provost for diversity and inclusion, and chief diversity officer at Northwestern University. Previously, he worked as associate dean of the Graduate School, and associate dean for diversity in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University. Bennett also held administrative appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and served on the faculty at Harvard, Brown and Northwestern.

Bennett received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in Spanish from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and earned a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College. Bennett completed postdoctoral research training at Harvard Medical School and is an alumnus of the Harvard University Administrative Fellows Program and Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship Program. Listen to Bennett's welcome interview with Russ White.

Audrey Bentley

Audrey Bentley

Senior Outreach Coordinator

Audrey Bentley (she/her) is the Senior Community Outreach Coordinator in the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and is committed to the principles and practices of diversity, equity and inclusion. With the support of faculty, administrators, students and staff, Bentley leads the coordination of several annual university-wide programs such as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and César Chávez/Dolores Huerta Commemorative Celebrations, and the Excellence in Diversity Awards Program. Bentley also assists the Director of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion in IDI in fulfilling the university’s compliance responsibilities. For several years, Bentley has coordinated the compilation of IDI’s Annual Diversity Report in partnership with the Office of Institutional Research, and contributions from various units across the university.

Bentley received a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Spring Arbor University.

Evette Chavez

Evette Chavez

Fiscal and Human Resources Officer

Evette Chavez (she/her) is the Fiscal and Human Resources Officer in the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. She works closely with staff and community partners regarding fiscal and human resources matters. Additionally, Chavez provides support to the annual IDI university-wide programs.

Prior to joining IDI, she spent six years in the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX Education and Compliance and has worked at the university since 1980. Chavez has worked in various capacities during her tenure including the MSU Women’s Resource Center, College of Music, The Graduate School and the College of Veterinary Medicine to name a few. She has attended Lansing Community College.


Terrence L. Frazier

Terrence L. Frazier

Special Assistant to the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Terrence L. Frazier, Ph.D. (he/him) is the Special Assistant to the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. Frazier works to support the advancement of strategic priorities in diversity, equity and inclusion at MSU.

Prior to joining the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Fraizer served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Services for seven years at MSU. He provided oversight in the following areas: Faith Based Groups, Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL), Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (GSCC), Office of Cultural & Academic Transition (OCAT), MOSAIC Multicultural Unity Center, Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE), Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, Student Parent Resource Center (SPRC), Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC), and Women's Student Services (WSS). Frazier has served on multiple university-wide DEI initiatives over the years. He will be a Big Ten Alliance – Academic Leadership Program Fellow for 2021.

Prior to his work at MSU, Frazier was the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Alabama A&M University which is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). In addition, he served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs for Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas.

Frazier has presented at numerous regional and national conferences. He is published in two books that address intercultural responsive leadership and employability skills through identity development and engagement programs.

Frazier has a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University (Dissertation: African American College Men Holding Leadership Roles in Majority White Student Groups); a Master of Education in Higher Education from Ohio University; and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Ohio University.


Lisa Fuentas

Lisa Fuentes

Staff Assistant

Lisa Fuentes (she/her) is the Staff Assistant in the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and joined the team in 2017. She works closely with the IDI directors and staff with a focus on program planning and coordination.

Prior to working joining IDI, she spent 17 years in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at MSU and has worked at the university since 1990. Fuentes has worked in various capacities during her tenure across academic and administrative departments. She attended Lansing Community College and Davenport College.

Deborah Johnson

Deborah J. Johnson

Director of the Diversity Research Network
IDI Faculty Associate, and MSU Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

MSU Distinguished Professor Deborah J. Johnson, Ph.D. (she/her) completed her doctorate at Northwestern University in human development and social policy. Currently a professor of human development and family studies, she joined the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion as a faculty associate in 2015 and has served as the inaugural Director of the Diversity Research Network since 2016. In 2020, Johnson served an interim term as Director of IDI.

Johnson leads the Diversity Research Network, a faculty-centered campus wide networking and resource entity. Her efforts support faculty through these resources and facilitation, fundraising, and a wide range of programming. She works with campus stakeholder units and interested faculty, staff and student organizations to develop training and education efforts that address diversity broadly, and racial literacy specifically. She also works with faculty and campus units to develop diversity best practices pertaining to the recruitment, advancement, and retention of diverse faculty and academic leadership. 

Johnson's research emphasizes cultural adjustment and ethnic-racial dimensions of development in the area of racial/ethnic identity development and racial socialization in varying context, including young children, adolescents, and emerging adults principally among African-American and other ethnic children and families; domestically, and but also internationally (i.e., Caribbean, Zimbabwean, Australian, and Roma youth). Johnson is the author of more than 90 publications including books, monographs, articles, and chapters. Her last three book volumes look at global and domestic issues of school, prejudice, and child rights. The newest volume is Handbook of Children and Prejudice: Integrating Research, Practice, and Policy (2019). Fitzgerald, H.E., Johnson, D.J., Qin, D.B., Villarruel, F.A., Norder, J. (Eds.). Springer. Her upcoming book, on Identity Re/Formation among Immigrant Families, again emphasizes youth and families in global contexts.

Lynn Lammers

Lynn Lammers

Artistic Coordinator for the Transforming Theatre Ensemble

Lynn Lammers (she/her) is the Artistic Coordinator for the Transforming Theatre Ensemble (TTE). She writes, directs, and produces interactive theatre pieces that are used as a focal point for dialogue and learning. Lynn has presented her work on interactive theatre at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity; the International Globalization, Diversity, and Education Conference; and the LaMaMa Director's Symposium in Umbria, Italy. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Lammers' professional regional theatre work includes directing at Williamston Theatre, Kickshaw Theatre, Flint Repertory Theatre, and Tipping Point Theatre, among others. She has a master’s degree in theatre history, literature, and criticism from MSU.


Photo of Shondra L. Marshall, Ph.D., Program Coordinator for the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives

Shondra L. Marshall

Program Coordinator for the Diversity Research Network

Shondra L. Marshall, Ph.D. (she/her) is the Program Coordinator for the Diversity Research Network (DRN). Her interests in research, diversity, inclusion, and equitable leadership practices align with the DRN’s mission. In 2019, Marshall received her Ph.D. at Eastern Michigan University in educational studies with an urban education focus. Her research examined a place-based teacher preparation program. While completing her doctoral studies she became the recipient of the King Chavez Parks Fellowship for future faculty and policymakers.

Marshall’s current research efforts focus on exploring racial socialization and parental influences of African American students. She is a two-time MSU alum with a strong commitment to community engagement and service. Marshall is an active member and leader within the MSU Black Alumni, Inc.

Henry Mochiba

Henry Mochida

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Communications Manager

Henry Mochida (he/him) is Michigan State University's DEI Communications Manager II. Mochida works to strategically elevate MSU’s DEI strategic priorities, policies, and initiatives with staff in University Communications, the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and with communications professionals across campus.

Prior to joining MSU, Mochida served as the public relations and communications specialist for three nationally-leading social justice education units in Student Life and the College of Literature Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan. While there, he served on the Asian Pacific Islander Desi / American (APID/A) Staff Association Core Leadership Team. In addition, he worked as a communications specialist at an early childhood education center in New England; the associate director of digital media at the University of Hawaiʻi; and as a media planner for a startup arts organization and nonprofit organizations in Honolulu and internationally.

Mochida earned his master’s degree in urban & regional planning from the University of Hawaiʻi where he advanced participatory storytelling processes with Indigenous Hawaiian groups. While a Ph.D. student he focused on power, representation and institutional storytelling.

Matt Olovson

Matthew J. Olovson

Director of Equity and Compliance

As Director of Equity and Compliance for the Michigan State University, Matthew J. Olovson, J.D. (he/him) serves as the institution’s Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer, responsible for designing and administering strategic plans to attain diversity goals, equity in practice and markers of inclusive excellence. His work, auditing, advising and administering programs and activities designed to ensure adherence to equal opportunity laws and related University programs/policies, is instrumental to MSU’s fulfillment of its commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.   

For more than two decades, Olovson has assisted organizations transform their operations and practices to enhance equity, leverage diversity and build inclusive communities. Prior to appointment with MSU, Olovson served as the Executive Director of Equal Opportunity & Access for the University of Cincinnati, as Director of Equal Opportunity & Staff Attorney for Ferris State University, Assistant Director of Institutional Equity for University of Notre Dame and as Assistant Director of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity for Central Michigan University. Olovson has regularly served as an adjunct professor, most recently with Alma College and Rochester University. His prior professional experience also includes law clerking for Legal Services of South Central Michigan, Prison Legal Services Michigan, the Department of Veterans Affairs and serving as youth counselor in community mental health services.  

As counsel and consultant, Olovson has regularly advised and provided professional development programming to corporations, community service entities and governmental bodies on strategies for navigating cultural transformation, compliance and community building. His expertise in the law and business administration have garnered him success representing clients in varying judicial, administrative, governmental and other legal proceedings. Over the course of his career, he has been an invited keynote speaker and workshop presenter, written the curriculum for a highly acclaimed EEO/AA practitioner certificate program and actively volunteered with several state and national organizations dedicated to community development and the promotion of social justice. He is a zealous advocate for inclusive organizational practice, culturally competent education and justice within and for our communities. 


Photo of Jade Richards

Jade Richards

Dialogues Coordinator 

Jade Richards (she/her) is is the Dialogues Coordinator in the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. She joined the office in 2021 and works with the Education team to promote, develop and offer diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Prior to joining the office, Jade worked as program instructor with MSU Extension, specializing in Mental Health related programs and was a program lead for the Mental Health First Aid workshops. Jade also worked for several years as an ESL teacher in South Korea served in roles that focused on staff training, curriculum development and student engagement.

Jade received her B.A. at Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Health Studies and Psychology.


Photo of Samuel Saldívar III, Ph.D., Multicultural Education Coordinator for the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives

Samuel Saldívar

Multicultural Educational Coordinator

Samuel Saldívar III, Ph.D., (he/him) is the Multicultural Coordinator in the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. He joined the office in 2020 and works with the Education team and the office's staff to address numerous requests for learning opportunities across the spectrum of diversity, equity and inclusion. These requests have resulted in the Implicit Bias Certification Program and Anti-Racist Pathways, amid other learning opportunities.

Prior to joining the Education team, Saldívar served as an assistant professor of English literature at Grand Rapids Community College. Before that, he was an assistant professor of Latinx literature at Texas State University. Saldívar’s areas of specialization lie in Latinx Narrative Studies that include literature, film, television, and Comix. He is especially interested in how stories are put together, and how these narratives, in turn, impact our personal, social, and academic communities in positive and negative ways.

Saldívar earned a dual major Ph.D. in Chicano/Latino studies and English literature from MSU, and a bachelor’s and master of arts degree in Latinx literature with a Latinx studies graduate certification from The Ohio State University. His publications and presentations have critically examined the role that language, stereotype, and bias have in constructing Latinx identities in dominant American spaces.

Patti Stewart

Patricia (Patti) L. Stewart

Director of Education and Development Programs

Patti Stewart, Ph.D. (she/her) has worked in faculty development and instructional technology at Michigan State University since 2003. In her current role with the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, she provides guidance and structure for learning opportunities that support inclusive and positive culture-building at MSU. This includes designing curriculum; organizing and often facilitating learning experiences; and consulting on educational needs related to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for faculty, staff and students across the institution.

Stewart’s areas of specialization include curriculum development, educational technology integration, and program assessment, with specific skills in the areas of faculty development, media design, and online/blended course and program design. Prior to her current position, she has worked in Academic Advancement Network/Faculty and Organizational Development as the Director of Faculty and Instructional Development, in IT Services: Teaching and Learning (formerly Virtual University Design and Technology), the Broad College of Business, and the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at MSU, and in marketing and instructional services at Central Michigan University. Patti earned her Ph.D. in educational administration and MA in telecommunications, information and media studies from MSU, and BFA in visual communications from Kendall College of Art and Design.

Sam Watson

Sam Watson

Executive Assistant to Jabbar R. Bennett

Sam Watson (he/him) is the Executive Assistant to Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer within the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Watson facilitates and manages the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer’s extensive schedule and is the fiscal point person for the office.

Additionally, he interacts with students, faculty, staff, administrators, executives, and the public in support of the office, and Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. Watson received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Western Michigan University in 2006. Prior to his role with IDI, Watson held similar roles at Lyman Briggs College and The Broad Art Museum.